Evangelion designer’s illustration of virtual idol/vocaloid Hatsune Miku released as a cool new figurine

HM 0

RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

Virtual idol or not, there’s no denying that Hatsune Miku is a bona fide star in the Japanese music scene. But while human vocalists might have professional photographers eager to take their pictures for a glossy photo spread, the equivalent for Vocaloids like Miku is being drawn or redesigned by famous artists of the anime and video game world.

Last year we saw Miku as reimagined in CG by Final Fantasy’s Tetsuya Nomura, and now the world’s most popular computer-generated songstress is being given a new physical form as a figure based on a redesign by the character designer of seminal anime hit Evangelion.

While Yoshiyuki Sadamoto is best known for creating the look of Shinji, Rei, Asuka, and the rest of the Eva cast, he’s got a number of other impressive designs on his resume. Sadamoto’s history with animation studio Gainax stretches back to long before the company produced Evangelion, as he was also the character designer for Gainax’s professional debut work, The Wings of Honneamise, as well as Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, the studio’s first television series.

Gainax isn’t the sole beneficiary of Sadamoto’s talents, either. In recent years, he’s provided designs for several of director Mamoru Hosoda’s animated films, including Summer Wars and Wolf Children. Sadamoto also collaborated with sound producer Mitchie M by providing the cover illustration to 2013 Greatest Idol, an album created by Mitchie M using Hatsune Miku’s Vocaloid program.

HM 1

Given how many fans Miku and Sadamoto have separately, Japanese anime merchandiser Good Smile Company figures there should be plenty of people intrigued by their team-up, and so recently unveiled this 1:8 scale figure of the Sadamoto-designed Miku.

HM 2

Standing roughly 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) tall, Good Smile Company has done an excellent job bringing Sadamoto’s characteristically slender limbs and angular jaw line into three-dimensional space.

HM 3

HM 4

HM 5

HM 6

The Hatsune Miku Greatest Idol Ver. figure, as the piece is officially called, goes on sale in May, but Good Smile Company is taking preorders through its website here between now and September 30.

For those who purchase early, 12,000 yen (US$100) gets you not only the figure, but also a 420 by 297 millimeter (16.5 by 11.7 inch) tapestry of the original Sadamoto Miku illustration.

Custom leather armors inspired by iconic characters make for some unique cosplay

prince armor 3

RocketNews 24:

Cosplay that looks exactly like the source material is so yesterday’s news. Nowadays plenty of people take a character and use their basic look and color scheme to design a whole new costume never seen before.

People who are looking to go a little medieval with their costumes and aren’t leatherworking experts should probably look to Prince Armory, who design and create uniquely amazing sets of leather armor. Their finished pieces look so gorgeous you’ll probably want to refer to them as art. Art that could probably stop a knife, that is.

Prince Armory has been creating custom hand crafted armor, costumes and leather products since 2007. What began as a business that was almost exclusively custom one-off items has blossomed into full sets of leather armor commissioned by their patrons.

While much of their work is inspired by fantasy and medieval settings, a few of their pieces have dipped into modern-day geekery.

Asgardian Iron Man Completed Full Armor
Custom Leather Armor by Prince Armory

Asgardian Iron Man Cuirass
Custom Leather Armor by Prince Armory

Asgardian Iron Man Helmet

Custom Leather by Prince Armory www.PrinceArmory.com

Besides Iron Man, their customers have commissioned medieval inspired costumes based on characters such as Darth Vader, Marvel’s Loki, DC’s Batman and the Joker and even the Warrior of Light from Final Fantasy.

Medieval Lord Vader
Custom Leather Armor

Medieval Joker Leather Armor by Prince Armory

Functional hardened leather full body armor including:

Jester’s Helmet with Joker Mask, Breastplate, Drama Face Pauldrons, Breastplate, Jester’s War Skirt, Cuisses/Knees/Greaves, Articulated Jester Shoe Sabatons

Updated Medieval Loki Helmet (horns carved and painted gold)

Leather Helmet with water buffalo horns

Warrior of Light Helmet

Part of a custom armor order based off a final fantasy character. Made from leather, horse hair and horn

Warrior of Light (from Final Fantasy)

Prince Armory’s impressive work has also been used in a Samsung TV commercial. Take a close look at the rider at the beginning on the white horse.

To see more of their outstanding work, be sure to take a look at their websiteFacebook or DeviantArt page to see all the amazing pieces they’ve crafted. What’s great about their work is that every commission is an original, and they will never do the same exact set twice.

Prince Armory’s impressive work has also been used in a Samsung TV commercial. Take a close look at the rider at the beginning on the white horse.

To see more of their outstanding work, be sure to take a look at their website,Facebook or DeviantArt page to see all the amazing pieces they’ve crafted. What’s great about their work is that every commission is an original, and they will never do the same exact set twice. If you want a suit of armor made by them, you can be assured that no one else will be riding into battle with the same fearsome leather as you will!

Pre-order the sleek new Batman figure envisioned by prolific video game designer Tetsuya Nomura

1

RocketNews 24:

Tetsuya Nomura is the mastermind behind this upcoming Batman figure, the likes of which you’ve never seen before. The 44-year-old video game artist/designer/director of Square Enix fame (he’s a veteran of both the Final Fantasy series and Kingdom Hearts) personally designed this version of the Dark Knight, and if you’re a fan of both his work and DC Comics, you’d better ready your wallet now!

Even by Batman standards, this new figure is a relatively dark interpretation of everybody’s favorite brooding superhero. One look at its design and Nomura’s stylistic flourishes are evident in every little detail, from the incredibly intricate bladed arm gauntlets to the flowing, jagged cape. A pair of mobile arms sprouting from the figure’s back, which can be “deactivated” at your pleasure, add a nice personal touch.

This definitely seems like the Final Fantasy X Batman crossover that we’ve all been waiting for.

Check out these promotional images:

1

The glossy black coloration accented by a rich red does wonders to further stylize the Dark Knight. Just watch out for those claws!

2

3

4

5

At approximately 306 millimeters (12 inches) tall and weighing 670 grams (1.5 pounds), the figure has quite the threatening presence.

6

7

Nomura’s figure is currently available for pre-order on Amazon Japan’s site for 19,786 yen (US$166.01), which is also listed as being 26% (6,998 yen/$58.72) off the list price. The actual release date is slated for July 31.

‘Mobius Final Fantasy’ Trailer

Square Enix has just released a two-minute trailer for its upcoming smartphone RPG, Mobius Final Fantasy, and it certainly looks impressive for a game fully developed for the mobile gaming market. While the trailer is fairly short, it reveals quite a lot in terms of the characters and the gameplay that we can expect, showing off the Ranger, White Mage and Thief jobclasses in some dramatic battles, and also announcing that the Dark Knight, Warrior and Hunter classes will be available.

The protagonist Wal also has the ability to summon all of your favorite classic summon monsters, in true Final Fantasy fashion. It’s safe to say that this definitely takes mobile gaming to another level, and we’ll be eagerly awaiting the release of Mobius Final Fantasy on iOS and Android in Japan in 2015. Square Enix has stated it will see a wider release but hasn’t given a window yet.

PS4 gets Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest crossover cover plate in Japan

baycover.png

RocketNews 24:

Sony is holding a contest from February 24 to April 26, with the opportunity to win a special PlayStation 4 cover plate that features art from both the Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy series. The cover plate’s design features a Slime (a traditional monster from the Dragon Quest series), and a Moogle (a recurring race in the Final Fantasy series). The contest will be a lottery, and Sony will only make 100 copies of the cover plate.

Potential applicants will need to complete three steps to acquire a lottery ticket to win the cover plate.

Step 1 can be completed with any one of the following methods:

  • Purchase the “Dragon Quest Metal Slime Edition” PS4, enter the included special product code in the PS Store, and download the game.
  • Purchase the PS4 Dragon Quest Heroes game‘s limited first edition, and enter the special item code for the “Dragon Quest III Hero Costume” in the PS Store, and download the special item.
  • Purchase the digital download edition of Dragon Quest Heroes for the PS4.
  • Purchase the digital download car edition of Dragon Quest Heroes for the PS4.

Step 2 can be completed with either one of the following methods:

  • Purchase the “Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Suzaku Edition” PS4, and enter the included special product code for Final Fantasy XV – Episode Duscae in the PS Store, and download the game.
  • Purchase the Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Ultimate Box for PS4, and enter the included special product code for Final Fantasy XV – Episode Duscae in the PS Store, and download the game.
  • Purchase the Final Fantasy Type-0 HD limited first edition for PS4, and enter the included special product code for Final Fantasy XV – Episode Duscae in the PS Store, and download the game.
  • Purchase the digital download edition of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD for PS4.

Step 3 can be completed with the following method:

  • Download the “PS4 Dragon Quest x Final Fantasy Double Purchase Campaign Lottery Ticket”, for free.

dmt.png

The 100 potential winners will be drawn from the users who successfully complete these steps and acquire the lottery ticket. The contest will run from February 24 to April 26.

All applicants will also receive a special Playstation 4 Dynamic Menu theme, with background art featuring the same art from the cover plate.

Dragon Quest Heroes is a roleplaying game in the long-running Dragon Quest RPG franchise. The game will be developed in collaboration with KOEI Tecmo Games’ Omega Force team, which also developed theWarriors series of games. In addition to being the first action RPG in the Dragon Questseries, the game will also be the first title in the series in ten years to be released on a PlayStation system. Yūji Horii is serving as the general director of the game, and Koichi Sugiyama is composing the soundtrack.

The story takes place in the kingdom of Elsarze, where humans and monsters work hand in hand, and everything is peaceful. However, one day, the monsters turn violent, and begin attacking the humans. Captains of the imperial guards Akt and Mare stand up in order to bring back the original hearts of the monsters, and bring peace back to Elsarze once more.

Square Enix shipped the game in Japan on Thursday, February 26. Square Enix has not yet announced a North American release date.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is the high-definition PS4/Xbox One port of Square Enix‘s original Final Fantasy Type-0 on the Playstation Portable system.

Square Enix describes Final Fantasy Type-0 HD:

“Step into the fray as Class Zero, a group of fourteen students from an elite military academy whose country is attacked by an aggressive neighboring Empire. Using the powerful abilities and magic of all fourteen characters in fast-paced action RPG combat, players must face the brutality and injustices of war to uncover the secrets of its genesis.”

Square Enix will release the game in North America on March 17, in Japan on March 19, and in Europe on March 20.

Final Fantasy XV Trailer

A new trailer has been released at the Jump Festa 2015 Japanese convention for the next installment in the ever-popular Final Fantasy franchise. While the trailer consists of a series of rather disjointed scenes and sound clips, we can tell that the plot of Final Fantasy XV, based on the franchise’s Fabula Nova Crystallis mythology, will revolve around a road trip taken against the backdrop of an invasion of a city-state called Insomnia.

Delivering stunning graphics and immersive environments as has become expected of the Final Fantasy series, watch the trailer above and stay tuned for the release date of the video game.

“2D vs. Katana” exhibition shows off recreations of swords from anime and video games in Osaka

TK 7

RocketNews 24:

Last year, Tokyo’s Ueno Royal Museum held an exhibition of Japanese swords inspired by the mechanical and character designs of landmark anime Evangelion. As cool as some of the pieces looked, though, you won’t find any scenes in the giant robot franchise where someone actually fights using a katana.

On the other hand, right now the Osaka Museum of History is holding an event that goes even further in bridging the gap between fantasy and reality, by displaying recreations of amazing blades seen in anime, manga, and light novel illustrations.

Running from now until December 23, the 2D vs. Katana exhibition has teamed up master swordsmiths with over a dozen Japanese graphic designers. One of the biggest names involved is Kazuo Koike, whose manga Lone Wolf and Cub was one of the first Japanese comics to build an international fanbase. The sword of the series’ tortured protagonist, Ogami, is one of the pieces on display.

TK 1

Another artist likely to be familiar even to a non-Japanese atendees is Yoshitaka Amano. A veteran character designer whose career stretches back to the 1970s, Amano provided designs for TV anime Gatchaman and video game franchise Final Fantasy. Weaponry based off his artwork for the multimedia project Zan is being displayed as part of 2D vs. Katana.

TK 2

 

Despite the event’s name, the pieces aren’t all necessarily derived from traditional Japanese sword designs. For example, the Demon Sword, a product of the imagination of veteran science fiction and creature illustrator Yuji Kaida, would look just as at home in the hands of a knight as a samurai.

TK 3

Judging from online reactions, the biggest show-stopper seems to be a recreation of a drawing by Yumeji Kiriko, the manga artist of Le Chevalier D’Eon whose work has also appeared in Sega’s arcade trading card games Sangokushi Taisen and Sengoku Taisen. Since the respective settings of those three titles are 18th century France, China’s Three Kingdoms period, and Japan’s Warring States conflict, it seems like organizers could have played it safe with the sort of practical designs used by actual weapons in those eras. Instead, they decided to go with something a bit more ambitious.

TK 4

Yes, there seems to be a bouquet of flowers growing out of that sword’s hilt, and in order to stay faithful to the source material, the swordsmith incorporated it into the piece, as shown in this snapshot from early in the production process.

Likewise, losing the ludicrously long hand guard was not an option.

It’s hard to notice in the original illustration, but the sword is actually constructed of two blades, one nestled inside the other, with two prongs at the tip. Like the flowers and hand guard, this is the sort of flourish that’s not an issue at all when working with a pen and paper, but can be pretty problematic when the tools of your trade are hammers and steel. So how does the final result look?

Pretty awesome.

There’s no question those flowers would get torn off in the opening seconds of a fight, and looking at the handle, we’re not sure there’s actually enough room to wedge your fingers into the gap between it and the hand guard. But while the 2D vs. Katana exhibition allows non-flash photography, the event’s leniency doesn’t extend to letting guests grab the weapon of their choice and duel with each other. Taking that into consideration, you can’t really fault the choice to concede a bit of combat practicality when the payoff is that many extra style points.